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Bogus Water Dept. Employees Targeting Elderly Residents

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REDFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WWJ) – Law enforcement officials in two metro Detroit communities — Redford Township and Ferndale — are warning residents  about  thieves posing as water department employees.

At 2:30 p.m. Monday, Ferndale police said a scam was pulled on an 80-year-old Ferndale man. Two suspects, who had heavy Middle Eastern accents, claimed to be from the water department and stole between $5,000-7,000 while he was distracted.

The victim said that the two suspects came to his door and said they were from the “water department”. The suspects told the victim that they had a truck on the street behind him and needed to check his residence since they were having problems in the area. The suspects claimed he was due a refund of $30 and gave him a $100 bill and asked for change. After the victim provided $70 change from his drawer in the bedroom, one suspect asked him to go to the basement to check the pipes.

The second suspect was upstairs while they were checking the pipes, and after the suspects left the victim noticed money missing from his drawer. He estimated that he had appx $5,000 to $7,000 in his top dresser drawer that was stolen.

The victim described both suspects as Arabic males with heavy accents. He said that the first suspect was roughly 40-45 years old and the second suspect was about 35 years old. They were last seen driving eastbound toward Hilton then southbound in a gray four-door vehicle.

This crime is similar to an incident that took place in Ferndale on May 22, Ferndale Lt. Bill Wilson said, when two suspects also attempted to get an elderly couple to change a $100 bill after gaining entry into the residence through deceit. The incident involved an arabic male appx 45 years old was the first suspect with a black man as a second suspect. The suspects were seen leaving in a dark four-door vehicle.

In both incidents the victims were probably seen working in their yards prior and were targeted randomly by the suspects who may have been driving in the area looking for older victims.

Redford Township police say they’re also investigating two cases of people posing as water department employees. In one case, an elderly homeowner let the man in, though nothing appeared to be stolen.

The incidents were on Appleton, near Telegraph and Plymouth, and on Royal Grand, near Plymouth and Beech Daly.

Police note that legitimate water department workers schedule appointments ahead of time and wear uniforms, carry work IDs, and drive township vehicles.

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